Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The New Toy Library

Education is an important aspect of our society. In Grahamstown many parents live under the bread line and cannot aford to send their children to preschools. They now have the opportunity to play with their children using educational toys. The Toy library in extension six is now the place where parents can borrow these resources. Refilwe Mpshe reports.

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Picture taken by Katherine Steward
Reflecting on the Toy Library

Pitching the story on the Toy Library in Extension 6 was very important for me. This story I felt touched a social aspect of the community which is what I believe journalism should endeavour to do. The fact that this Toy Library was opening to allow parents in the community to take part in their children's education was what I felt to be an empowering step. My aim was to go to the library in its first week of running and find out more about it.

I was scheduled to speak to the facilitator and the parents. This was going to be a colour piece with for our news podcast. I went on the Wednesday morning to do the story and unfortunately it rained that morning so parents arrived much earlier to return the toys. By the time I arrived at the time I'd arranged, there were no parents and the facilitator had a meeting she was now rushing off to.

The Toy library is in the same grounds as a Thuluwazi preschool and so I decided to go inside and record the children as ambience and get them to comment on what they thoughts about the toys in the library. I walked into the library and for the first time, as I pulled out my recorder and started speaking to the children, I could tell that not only was I a stranger in this setting, there were power relations at play and I was the journalist with the recorder. The children refused to talk to me, shying away from the recorder. The teachers understanfding my situation had the children sing a pray for me.

I interviewed the facilitator the follow day and had a great interview. When I put the package together I tried using the ambience I recorded and it didn't fit in at all with what the toy library really was, it simply sounded like the a creche. The toy library was scheduled to be closed the follow week so again I would not have had the time to interview  parents in time to meet my deadline. The sad reality is that this is a colour piece with no colour, yet I do think I did my best with this package under the circumstances.

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